Anna Council discusses sales tax, home rule issues
The Anna City Council last week revisited discussion about a sales tax and the establishment of home rule in Union County’s largest community.
The topics were discussed at the council’s regular meeting, which was held Tuesday evening, Dec. 19. Both topics had been discussed at a recent council meeting.
Both matters could end up going to voters for their consideration. Anna voters have previously turned down proposals to establish a home rule form of government.
As the discussion began, Mayor Steve Hartline suggested that the council needs to determine the answer to a key question regarding both issues. The question, the mayor said, is: “Are we unified?”
Focusing on the sales tax issue, council member Brandon Bierstedt said he wanted to know how revenue would be allocated.
Council member Martha Ann Webb has indicated that she would like to see revenue generated by a sales tax utilized for the development of an indoor swimming pool. The city has an aging pool which is in need of constant maintenance.
Bierstedt and city attorney John Foley both indicated that input from the public should be sought regarding both issues.
The mayor suggested that discussion regarding the use of sales tax revenue should focus on general categories, such as park and street improvements.
“We have to educate the public that it’s for the improvement of the city,” the mayor said.
City officials agreed that education will be critical in explaining the issues to voters, should the matters go to the voters.
Hartline said that the city needs to look into the future regarding ways to generate revenue. The mayor emphasized that he does not want the city to put a burden on property owners and the real estate taxes that they pay. He said that government grant funding no longer will be a viable option.
Further discussion about the issues is anticipated as city officials work to build a consensus regarding their next step.
In other business:
The city administrator reported that discussion about a budget for Anna’s new fiscal year are expected to start in late January or early February. The city’s new fiscal year begins on May 1, 2018.
Police Chief Mike Hunter reported that installation of security cameras at the Anna City Park is scheduled to begin in mid-January.